Summary: How we should not forget to thank God for things we dislike or take for granted
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Annual Sermons: Vol. 5 No. 21
Text: Ps. 103:1-4
Concord Baptist Church:1991
Copyright 1991 by Bob Marcaurelle
AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
“With all my heart I will praise the Lord. I will never forget how kind He has been.” (Ps. 103:2 Contemporary English Version)
When it comes to thanksgiving , there are two kinds of people - those who take things with gratitude and those who take things for granted. God wants us to be grateful, thankful, appreciative people. The Psalms command us, “O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, because His mercy endures forever (Ps. 118:1). Paul tells us to offer our prayer requests to God “With thanksgiving” (Phil. 4:6). The writer of Hebrews spoke of thanksgiving as an abiding attitude in the heart of a Christian, “Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, the fruit of our lips is giving thanks to His name” (Heb. 13:15). Spurgeon said, “Take the pearls of blessings; thread them on the lace of pure grace; and hang them around the neck of praise.”
When our blessed Lord took in hand the bread and broke it, a symbol of His upcoming ordeal on Calvary, the Bible says He “gave thanks” (Mt. 15:36). Any of us can be grateful when all is well, but the mature Christian, following His Lord’s example can even be grateful when all is not well. Thus Paul could say, “In all things give thanks” (1 th. 5:18) and he practiced what he preached by writing his most joyful Letter (Philippians) from a prison cell.
When the broken heart is also the thankful heart, then Christian maturity is evidenced and Christ is truly Lord. This is the person who has learned that suffering is a part of being made in God’s image, for our God suffers too; that suffering, as bad as it is, has some benefits; and that suffering is temporary because this world is not our home.
I like the story of the little girl who was forced to eat spinach and beets for supper. When asked to say the blessing, she refused, saying, “The Lord knows I’m not thankful for spinach and beets.” Her mother told her she couldn’t leave the table until she thanked God for something. The little girl bowed her head and said, “Lord, I’m thankful this stuff didn’t make me sick. Amen!”
And so today, let’s look around and look within and see if we cannot cultivate an attitude of gratitude for all the things that come to us, as the Psalmist says , from the goodness and mercy of God.
I. GOD’S GENERAL BLESSINGS (Ps. 111)
In Psalm 111 we find praise for the wonders of God’s creation. The writer says, “I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart. . .Great are the works of the Lord. . . He has given food to those who fear Him.” (Ps. 111:1,2,5). Have you ever stopped to consider all the treasures that are ours that come from the Creator?
A man in middle age came to his pastor in a state of depression over his life. His health was weakening and the medical bills coupled with the cost of college for his children made life a burden with no relief in sight. The wise pastor asked him if he could spend an hour or two with him. The man agreed and the pastor took him visiting.
They went first to the shut-ins in the nursing home. There they saw some people with clear minds and crippled bodies who were confined to beds or wheelchairs. They saw some with active bodies but minds completely gone. Some could not hear and others could not see. When the hour was over, the wise pastor did not moralize or sermonize but silently prayed his friend would get the message.
He wanted that man to leave saying, “I can see - the moon in the sky and the faces of my family - I can hear - the songs of the birds, the whisper of the wind and the laughter of my children. My mind is unimpaired and I have a roof over my head, food on my table, independence and health enough to work and enjoy life.”
I cried because I could not afford new shoes
And then I saw a man who had no feet”
Thank God today for these common, general blessings so often overlooked. Thank Him for good food and an appetite to enjoy it; for birthday parties you pretend not to enjoy and for a family that laughs at your old jokes when they’ve heard them twenty times. Don’t wait until you lose such things to know their real value and be grateful.